Monday, May 25, 2009

Interrupted Calm

Our life was clicking right along with lots of fun times getting to know new places and people. My job was everything I had wanted. Many more children than initially expected were enrolled in the Montessori school, making it necessary to hire two teachers. Working with a co-teacher was easy because we shared a common style and communicated well with each other. The pay wasn't fantastic, but Jessica and I found we didn't have expensive needs, so it was a good fit for us. We missed our friends and family from Madison, so we tried to go back for visits as often as possible. We also did a lot of letter writing since this was pre-Internet, texting, Facebook and Twitter. Long distance phone calls, which were quite expensive at that time, were kept to a minimum.

For several months I felt no pressure or anxiety . Our emphasis was on acclimating ourselves to the new environment in which we were living and adjusting to our new routine. I felt as though I could finally let out a long overdue exhale after the stress of the past several years. At last Jessica and I were able to experience the benefits of our planning, goal-setting and hard work, and we were enjoying it together. What a refreshing way to live, and I wanted this to last forever. Of course it didn't, but even as fear began to creep back into my days, I continued to cherish every bit of the feeling of my accomplishments over the past years.

Fear was a red flag, an invitation for me to take a closer look at what was going on in my life. I thought this may possibly allow me to pinpoint the cause, but I came up empty. Why would this enter my life at a time I was experiencing a solid sense of achievement and success? A friend suggested going to a therapist. I was uncertain about her suggestion because I had never before considered that as an option. Why would I ever have needed a therapist when I had my trusty Pandora's Box?

Being away from the support of my family, I felt I should go to someone who could help me figure out what had happened to cause this shift in my emotional life. I found a female therapist who made me comfortable at our first appointment, so I felt in capable hands. She asked many questions about my past to help her more fully understand me. As I answered her questions, I began to more fully comprehend the complexity of my life. After sharing the highlights and the lowlights, she asked how I had dealt with my feelings after losing the vision in one eye. I must have looked perplexed as I asked her, "What do you mean? What feelings?" She then asked me to close both eyes and have the eye with vision speak to the eye without vision. I hesitated for a long time because I felt a bit ridiculous speaking for my eyes. With a little encouragement though, I was able to begin. It didn't take long for the tears to begin flowing down my cheeks. It was the very first time I was able to get in touch with my feelings of genuine sadness and loss. Where had all deep emotions been stored for those many years? In Pandora's Box? Someplace in my body? I couldn't answer that question, but one thing I did know for was about time for me to begin opening wide the windows of my feelings and airing out all the unexpressed emotions that had been kept under wraps too long.

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